Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Footy Tips

A few years ago I was in a footy tipping competition where for half the year, religiously every week, I would go online and enter my tips.  I wasn't just in one competition, I was in many.  A good deal of my free thinking time was spent thinking about each week's games, looking up information, and looking at the leaderboard each week. 

I did pretty well.  I won one competition a few years ago, and won $1300, and just missed out in a big national competition where I almost won a new car but faded to finish third.

I gave all the competitions up a couple of years ago. I realised as much as I enjoyed them, it was stressing me as well. I realised it was consuming my mind so I had to let it go.

Facebook for me is similar. I joined up, found lots of ex-workmates and people I had not seen in years, added them, added all my interest groups, followed tons of pages, anything I was interested in remotely I followed.

Then it became too stressful. 

Maybe others can read posts they like and pass on others. In the rules in my head, I had to read every single post, so I would spend time looking at every single thing on my page and I became stressed that I may have missed something.  Then facebook made changes, and all the pages and posts didnt make sense or weren't in the right order anymore, that was hard to deal with.  Really, I just decided to shut off from it and these days I look at recent  posts in Asperger groups but that is about it.

It annoys me somewhat, that I can't just be like everyone else and enjoy the simplicity of small things in life without making it a big deal.  It is like unless I can be fully devoted to these small tasks then I must shut them off altogether.  Sometimes though, leaving out all the small chaos, can let me reflect better on other more valued things. 

I feel deflated.  I just got my results from my recent essay for my teaching studies and received 20/40 which although a pass, was not the mark I thought I would get.  I understood the essay well, I presented my arguements and my tutor said " it was hard to tell if you understood this or not, as some parts did not show understanding and in other parts  you showed excellent understanding".

This was possibly my easiest assignment and I find my bare minimum pass not satisfactory at all.  It seems lately I pass with minimum marks or fail by one or two.  I hate being a borderline student!

Take Care everyone.

Friday, May 10, 2013

New Zealand Here We Come

We made a decision a few days ago to move to New Zealand for six months. 

It truly was an instant, on the spot decision. Many on the spectrum have trouble with change. I am not exempt.  When my daily routine changes it can throw out my "rhythm" causing anxiety, but I can adapt too.  I find the big changes easy, and its the small ones that disturb my mojo.

The hardest thing so far has been that we will be selling many things we no longer use.  I made a bold decision and found three used novels on my shelf to put towards the garage sale we are having. 

Simply because I have Aspergers does not mean I, nor my son cannot handle change.  We both can and do.  My son finds a change in furniture in our home very stressful and can be upset for days if my wife moves the couch, but on the other hand he happily moves from different hotel, to different country, to different foods in foreign lands and these do not upset him at all.  Perhaps travel is not change for him, it has become routine. 

I don't think Aspies need to be wary or scared of traits that are common to us.  All of us are individual and we all have our own quirks.  Sometimes it feels good just to break free once in awhile and walk with no fear. 

Bring on the big change! 

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Teaching the Teacher

have enrolled in early childhood teaching this year, with a long term goal of one day specializing in teaching children on the Spectrum.

I know it will be challenging, I haven't really studied since leaving school, but I'm excited to re- activate that part of my mind again, even though the thought of handing in an assignment terrifies me! 

By learning and doing something new, I know am pushing my boundaries and I also know this is a good thing.  Us Aspies can be too comfortable in our own world and pushing through these  boundaries can only be a good thing.

I often don't see any positives in Aspergers but I see the negatives all too frequently.

I now realize that discovering that I have  Aspergers has changed the way I think and how I 
respond to situations, it's ripped away my confidence too.

Now, often,  I find myself not wanting to interact with others and to just try to clear the mess that is in my head.  Lots of times I long for the old me - pre diagnosis, other times I'm happy being silent and trying to make sense of the confusion in me.

I am glad my son Hadley is wired differently, and has the quirky nature that is so refreshing, however I don't see any benefits personally for me having Aspergers.

For the young Aspergians, we, can as parents, now develop and teach strategies so they can succeed in this world, but for us older Aspies,  our thinking and ways are too ingrained making it hard to sometimes adapt in this frequently fast paced world.  

When I was growing up in sleepy New Zealand in the 1970s, as a child we had little choice, few toys, we just did what our parents told us.  We of course had the freedom to explore outside and play.  Sadly our children today are very restricted in a increasingly computerized and dangerous world.  On reflection, I think  for me growing up in a quieter world and not having all the distractions and choice that children have today, made life easier as an Aspie for find their place.

It's just I am now more aware, and therefore, think more. Sometimes I think knowledge can be a bad thing.  All this thinking wears me out, and I often don't have the confidence to speak out anymore for risk that it's the wrong thing to do, or the wrong thing to say.

This isn't any cry for help or woe is me, or for someone tell me I'm ok. It's just the way it is, we just try develop our own little strategies and ways to cope with our day to day struggle to clear our mind of the chaos. 

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Home Schooling - Learning by Trial & Error!

After much deliberation and disgust with the current schooling system, we have decided to home school our son Hadley aged 7, for at least half year starting today (while we sit on a waiting list for a Steiner School). 

As I write this my wife is probably earnestly looking on, as my son studiously writes assignments and learns in a quiet peaceful atmosphere.   Or more worringly for me, they have stopped for lunch and that's it for the day. 

Apparently there's no right or wrong with home schooling, you simply teach as best you can, some may toil for hours whilst for others it's a mere couple of hours a day.  

We have actively been searching for "after school " activities to help him learn and to encourage socialisation. There are Spanish lessons, Karate, Swimming, Sports and group meetings with other home school parents.

One of the obvious discussions, when discussing home schooling is, which parent will do the parenting? My wife won the coveted position after a (very)small discussion and I will assist when required.  

My worry is that my wife is unrestricted by rules that govern society, she simply does as she pleases, so this may mean some days Hadley may only do a small amount of work, other days a lot more. Whereas, if I was the teacher, we would be governed by the clock.  Although I suspect we may end up studying the world map and geography and maths to the detriment of every other subject.  Science!  Who uttered that dirty word!   There will be none of that on my watch.

This will probably be more error than trial, but it will be an experience and one which I'm sure all 3 of us will learn a lot from.  I'm hoping Hadley gains life experiences, ones which he may not have learnt at a regular school.  

Come join us on this ride and I will be sure to tell you of how we get along. 

Class dismissed.

Monday, December 26, 2011

#6 Traveling by Train

There are many things one should do before they die, brush your teeth, sleep occasionally, be good to others, but traveling by rail through Europe should be added to that list.

This is our third trip (in three years) through Europe by rail.  Today's leg takes us from Berlin Germany to Krakow Poland via Warsaw, where we will change trains.

There are many advantages to traveling by train over plane - the two major ones for me are the comfort and the efficiency.  Trains in Europe seem to travel in almost clockwork fashion running mostly to the minute or two of schedule.

As past experience has shown however, occasionally things go and often will go, awry.

Our first trip in 2009 was with a party of 6;  teenagers, adults and a small child of 4 years old all included in our party.

In the planning I took over the responsibility of the train schedule with Aspergian precision (not to be confused with military precision which is less precise).

I had train connections, stopovers, transfers, platforms, tickets, reservations all under control, often checking daily on the Internet to see if any changes had been made by the railways to any of our connections.  I was also in charge of the accommodation, finding our way to and from hotels from the train stations.

It was all under control or so I thought.  How wrong I was.

My well versed plans didn't take days to unravel, it started from the very first city, Frankfurt.  We had safely navigated customs and the trip from the airport to the main train station where our hotel was located just a few short steps away. It was raining, our family was tired, we were jet lagged. 

But I couldn't find our hotel.  More to the point, I didn't know which direction it was in as there were so many departure gates from the train station.  My map suddenly seemed woefully inept. We walked in many directions that night, we passed many streets, we assailed many people to beg for directions.  Lesser people may have crumbled, we battled on.  We survived and eventually found our hotel more by luck than by anything else. 

Now we use google maps, we write directions down, we take taxis.  Mainly we take taxis.

There were other misdemeanors on this trip.  Namely I lost a backpack with our daily food supplies, train timetables and hotel information, left on a train.  My wife left a $1000 camera in a taxi in Paris .

These however are merely footnotes, the story of us trudging through the rain and sleet in Frankfurt is the tale my wife has never forgotten (she can't let it go!).  Like life itself,  things will and do go wrong on holidays no matter how well you plan.  Sometimes the memories (almost) make the mistakes worthwhile.  Especially if you can laugh about it later.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

#5 The Essence of Books

The essence of books......

I'm sure there are plenty of people out there who love reading a good book, I certainly do and when finished I pop it on the overflowing shelf near my bed to keep for another day.  

One of the many benefits of having Aspergers is the ability to collect. I collect my books, each has a special memory attached to it, whether it be from the day I purchased it, to the time I read it, or even a memory attached to the person who may have given it to me.

My NT (non Aspergian) wife is not like this.  She is a thrower.   She reads then throws the book.   Maybe she will keep a large coffee table book or a travel guide but once read books to her are like a newspaper. 

It must be a shame to live this way I think, with no order amongst the chaos. 

We argued last night over my bulging book collection..... books were made to be thrown out, novels mostly, but to her, my memory of buying a book with her in a Jindabyne book store and having a wonderful day, well that memory in my mind obviously means little to her.

I could have fought back, but my best lines in arguments often come hours later when I gather my thoughts and come up with amazing one liners that could have stopped her in her tracks.  I mean what if I had got out the photo albums for instance and said, " oh you've looked at these?" ok I'll toss them out......with the books.

But have no fear book lovers, I will recover and more on to bigger and better books. I"ll simply hide them from now on.

I know in a future life, I will suffer for saying this, but has anyone else ever fantasised on holiday, that their family will have a short 24 hour virus that means the only healthy one (me) can spend the day poking around book stores?

Now if only I can find those missing books....